Sixty years ago a woman, with five small boys, turned up on my mother’s doorstep. She had been mistreated by her husband and had left him, taking with her their children. She was looking for work.
Pat, stayed with my mother for sixty years, brought me up when my mother was away, stroked my hair and put me to bed, dried my tears and steadied my teenage years. She was not my nanny. I had several of those, who came and went. She was Pat.
She was the only person I ever knew to face my father. And when she remarried, my mother was her bridesmaid, both of them aged 70.
A year or so ago Alzheimer’s slipped in and stole her away. (I wrote about it here)
When ever I am home in England I spend time with Pat. She recognizes me and strokes my face again, as she did when I was a child, we hug each other and she sings Vera Lynn songs and I feel bright and happy but other days she sits crumpled and alone in a dark world of Alzheimer’s.